The next scene on my home HO model railroad is a logging area. I need one simple wooden building which would depict a site office. My last post outlined my first-time use of a Cricut Maker machine to cut out the wood components for a building flat. This project is a simple building but is a complete structure, with four walls, a peaked roof, a floor, two windows and a door. This building needs shingles so I thought I would see if I could create my own shingles using the Cricut.
I began by drawing the desired dimensions on graph paper (when I took this picture I had not yet drawn the floor).
The following photograph is a closeup of the front, back and side walls just after being cut by the Cricut using its knife blade. The machine took 18 cuts of the pattern, going slightly deeper each time, to cut through the 1/16 inch thick board-and-batten siding which I purchased from Mt. Albert Scale Lumber (part of Fast Tracks). After taking this photograph I removed the pieces from the sticky Cricut cutting mat and gently passed a file around the edges to remove leftover wood fibres, of which there were few.
Next, I stained all components using my homemade medium wood stain (recipe is 2 teaspoons of Fiebing's Cordovan leather die in 8 ounces of 70% isopropyl alcohol). I always stain both sides of all pieces because this greatly reduces warping. I place the stained pieces in front of a small fan to speed up the drying process which also reduces warping.
I then added dimensional basswood bracing to the edges of the walls:
Here is a photograph of my first attempt at making a sheet of shingles using the Cricut maker. This was using the machine's fine cutting blade. I used a sheet of commercial shingles that I had on hand to come up with the dimensions. I can't recall the source of the paper because I purchased a package of it several years ago and the label is missing - I probably purchased this from Michaels. It is 8.5 X 11 inches, brown and about the thickness of construction paper but with a slightly smoother finish. The paper has no self-adhesive backing but that did not turn out to be a problem.
Here is a picture of the beginnings of the application of the shingles:
Note that I used scribed wood for the roof panels. I thought that the lines in the material would come in handy for ensuring that the shingles were straight - this worked very well and avoided having to draw lines on the material. As this was 1/16 inch thick scribed wood I used my detail power sander to reduce its thickness somewhat by sanding the reverse smooth side. I did this because the 1/16 inch thickness looked a little too thick for the scale of the building.
I applied Aileen's Tacky Glue to the entire top surface of the wood and let it dry. I then poured some Aileen's Tacky Glue into the white bottle cap in the above photograph and added water equal to roughly 1/8 of the quantity of glue. This was to make the glue slightly runny and easier to apply with a brush.
In the above picture, you will note that the first row of shingles has already been applied. I used the brush to apply a bead of glue to where the next strip will be located, making sure that only a very small amount of the glue found its way on top of the first strip of shingles - I was trying to avoid having any more glue than possible ooze out from under the shingles. This technique worked very well because the scribed wood roof surface allowed excess glue to squeeze through the grooves in the wood before it squeezed between the shingles. The reason that I covered the roof with glue and let it dry before starting this process is that Aileen's Tacky Glue will become sticky again when it gets wet so the slightly runny glue adhered extremely well to the surface, and did so very quickly.
I did try painting Aileen's Tacky Glue to an entire sheet of paper and letting it dry. My plan was to run this through the Cricut once the glue had dried on the backside and then rewet the glue when I applied it (the way postage stamps used to work) - this did NOT work as the paper curled up very badly as the glue dried. I shall experiment with other techniques in the future.
Here is a shot of one-half of a microscope slide cover glued to the inside over one of the Tichy windows:
Finally, here are front and back shots of the completed structure. The entire project from start to finish took about 4 hours of elapsed time during a 24 hour period. I am delighted with the way that the Cricut Maker machine works. All of the pieces fit perfectly in alignment and all cuts are perfectly square - as precise as a laser-cut commercial kit.
I sparingly applied another of my homemade wood stain to the lower half of the structure to depict further weathering, this time for a more grey look (recipe: 1/8 teaspoon of Fiebing's black leather dye in 8 ounces of 70% isopropyl alcohol). If you add too much black die the resulting black has a blue tinge).